As Aaron Gwin put it on his social media accounts – the secret’s out. The secret to flat protection that is. But that’s just the beginning. Flat Tire Defender is a new product out of Arizona that is the brain child of tire legend, Frank Stacy. Three years in the making, the foam inserts have already found their way to the top step of the World Cup podium and seem to be ready for their big debut. Similar in concept to technology that’s been used in motocross tires for years, the Flat Tire Defender is an ovalized foam insert that sits inside a standard tubeless or tubeless ready tire. Made from closed cell foam rubber, the inserts are airless meaning they should be fairly easy to install and won’t absorb sealant or lose their protective abilities…
Even though Gwin can literally ride the tires off a bike, it seems like keeping the air inside is best. While preventing flats is a big part of the FTD kit, Gwin claims it also leads to better handling with lower tire pressures possible with less sidewall rollover and minimized damage to rims and tires. Available to fit multiple wheel and tires sizes, kits include two rim strips, two tire valves, and zip ties for the installation procedure (below). Starting with 26″ trail and enduro bikes at $109.50 for the set, prices top out at $129.50 for the 29+ kit.
Installation is fairly straight forward with the tubeless valve installed normally, then the foam rubber strip placed on top with the tire sitting on either side. It does look to be a good bit tighter than a typical tire installation hence the zip ties, but overall looks to be pretty simple.
If FTD delivers on all its promises, this could be a huge step forward for mountain biking.